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How is Modal Shift Being Encouraged in Buckinghamshire?

2 min

Modal Shift
Image Credit: Go-Ahead Group
The Go-Ahead Group has announced that it will be operating a demand-responsive bus service from 27 September 2022 in High Wycombe, allowing customers to request a pick-up at a ‘virtual bus stop’. Quadrant Transport looks at how this will encourage modal shift.

Teaming up with Buckinghamshire Council, Go-Ahead’s Carousel Buses brand will un the ride-sharing service, which aims to encourage shoppers, commuters, students and leisure travellers to leave their cars at home.

A recruitment campaign has now begun to hire minibus drivers and customer services controllers for the PickMeUp service. This service operates on the concept of what is described as ‘virtual bus stops’, with services picking up and dropping off customers near where they want to start and end their journeys, without being constrained by physical infrastructure.

Buses Will Be Brought To People Exactly When They Need Them

Martin Dean, Go-Ahead’s Managing Director at UK Regional Bus, said: “We’re always looking for new ways to get people onto buses. This is an innovative idea which uses technology to bring buses to people when and where they want them.”

We’re delighted to be working on the initiative with Buckinghamshire Council.

Funded by the local authority with support from the UK Government’s Rural Mobility Fund, the service will be run by Carousel, which operates around 45 buses in High Wycombe and the wider Buckinghamshire area.

In addition to this, it also serves locations including Slough in Berkshire, Hemel Hempstead in Hertfordshire, and Uxbridge.

Encouraging Modal Shift Will Support The UK Reach Its Net Zero Emissions

If the UK wants to deliver on its commitment to reach net zero emissions by 2050, modal shift must be encouraged. As customers are able to summon a bus by using an app, it makes using public transport rather than a car more appealing because it is more efficient, easy and quick.

Luke Marion, Interim Managing Director at Carousel Buses, said: “The idea of PickMeUp is to provide a new way to get people around swiftly, efficiently and on demand.”

I hope this will further encourage people to leave their cars at home, help reduce pollution and further improve connectivity in High Wycombe.

A previous version of PickMeUp was run by Go-Ahead’s Oxford Bus Company between 2018 and 2020, as part of a two-year pilot.

It was the UK’s largest demand-responsive bus service, however, it lacked any local authority funding to operate beyond the two-year period.